The Storm - III
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Serenity experienced a blizzard and now the crew is experiencing the after-effects. Set post-BDM.


Disclaimer: All things Firefly/Serenity are the property of Whedon et al. I'm not making any money off this, just playing with the toys.


It was cold, goramn cold. And it hurt. Hurt to breathe, hurt to move, hurt to think. Everything was spinning and jumbling in front of him. Shutting his eyes only made it worse. He did about the only thing he could do.

He passed out.

The next time he awoke, the ‘verse had stopped spinning, but was still cold. Maybe he was in the airlock again. Maybe Mal’d finally had enough and was going to do what shoulda been done a long time ago.

He blinked as white bits assaulted his face and eyes. He tried to lick his lips, but his tongue was swollen and not moving too well. His shoulders were convulsing and he dimly realised that they were shaking. His teeth were making a racket too, causing his jaw to become sore. Breathing was hard, laboured. The cold air assaulted his lungs and made him even colder.

Just need t’shut my eyes...jus...fer...a min...

The press of fingers into his neck brought him around a third time and he struggled to move. His body had stopped co-operating at all and he was grateful that the teeth-chattering had also ceased.

Vaguely and through layers of what felt like thick cotton, he was aware of someone calling his name. Through slitted eyes, he caught the face yelling at him. Shutting them, he was jarred awake with a rough push, but it was just so goramn hard to keep his eyes open.

Want t’sleep.


Mal rubbed his forehead. He was getting a might panicky. If he didn’t figure a way extricate Jayne from outta the room, the hundan was going to freeze to death. “Zoe?”

His first mate calculated what it would take to move the jumbled and heavy cartons that pinned Jayne without causing further harm to the merc. She gave him a look that said what he knew to be true. This was going to hurt something more than fierce.

She stepped over to the injured man and braced her hands on his shoulders. River knelt near Jayne’s leg as Mal shook his hands to ready himself. “You got him, Zoe?”

The woman nodded and put her full weight onto Jayne’s shoulders as best she could in the cramped and awkward space that Jayne occupied. Mal looked to River and she nodded as he gave the instruction. “On the count of three. One. Two. Three.” With a grunt, Mal managed to lift the carton away while River pulled Jayne’s leg out.

The scream that Jayne emitted was enough to deafen them. His body thrashed and nearly threw Zoe off, but she held fast. His breath was irregular and loud and he knocked his head against the wall so hard that he lost consciousness

As Mal caught his own breath, Zoe took a moment to see the large hole in the hull side of the room and the inches of snow windswept into it. She should have looked back here sooner. Should have looked harder. Over an hour he sat there in pain and sub-freezing temperatures. It was her fault.

“Zoe,” Mal said quietly. “You here?”

She faced her captain. “Sir.”

Mal directed his First Mate towards River and the pair grabbed up Jayne’s legs as best they could, while Mal lifted under the big man’s arms. With a heave, they picked him up and began the slow trek to the infirmary.

Simon was awake now and tending to his new patient. The soft brace around his neck didn’t prevent him from doing his job. Assessing the problem, he began. “River, in the third drawer...” She was already unfolding the heating blanket before Simon could finish. Stiffly turning, he attached the sensor monitor to Jayne’s finger and studied the information.

As a trauma surgeon, he’d worked near-miracles in the ER on Capital City. Had a hamster named after him and had seen all kinds of ways for people to suffer and be injured. Seeing Jayne here, now, was gut-wrenching. The leg was the bloodiest mess he’d ever come across in some time and he had severe reservations about how well this was going to go.

“Not going to fall,” River said softly, bringing over a tray with various surgical instruments. She smiled at him in such a way that he believed her. He quickly glanced to the crowd outside the infirmary before placing the anaesthesia hypo at Jayne’s neck and squeezing the trigger.

“What’s everyone lookin’ at?,” Kaylee said softly, her head still woozy. She looked to the medbad across from her own. “There a pony?”

Inara stroked the girl’s hair, but her eyes studied Zoe standing at the window.

The First Mate stood firmly, her arms folded across her chest and her expression emotionless. Looking at Mal, she noted his silence.

It was real bad, Mal knew. The merc’s leg weren’t much more that a mess of crushed bone and bloody tissue. He’s seen the like during the war, Zoe too, and they both knew the likely consequences of an injury that severe. Infection would set in, toes would turn black and eventually the leg would have to be removed. At least Jayne had the luxury of anaesthesia.

Mal left the infirmary window and headed for the bridge. Inara followed after him, only calling out his name when they had reached the control room.

“You should stay with Kaylee,” he said. “She’ll be needin’ someone t’look out for her.” He busied himself with the console, noting with a frown that there were no replies to his Mayday.

“It’s not your fault,” the Companion said slowly.

Mal ignored her.

She stepped up to him, letting her hand rest on his hunched shoulder. “You’re not God.”

“God gave them the choice to be what they are. I don’t.” He half-turned and saw Inara’s confusion. “I give the orders, tell ‘em who they gotta be. God gave up responsibility for them, but not me. They are completely MY responsibility. Mine!” His nostrils flared.

“Dammit, Inara, I should have known. Pulled outta the storm, orbited some and waited for it to die out.” He hitched his breath, didn’t want to think on dying just yet. “Whole damn crew is suffering thanks to my stupidity... once again.” He turned away.

“No one’s going to die, Mal.” Her voice was soft and sure. “This isn’t Miranda.”

Mal’s eyes narrowed. “I know that,” he growled. That’s what makes it worse. “See, here’s the truth of the thing. We’re gonna to freeze to death if I can’t conjure a way of getting that fucking engine working.” He jabbed a finger towards the engine room. “Kaylee’s too dopey for mechanicin’ after I pushed her to get the comm and electrical up. Zoe don’t know nothin’ about engines and the last time I worked on it, got a belly scar for my trouble. So you tell me, Inara, how is it there ain’t nobody gonna die?” He smacked the panel in frustration and winced.

A refined hand snaked through Mal’s arm as he bent over the console and rested atop his hand. He felt her warmth through his shirt, her scent swirling around them. “There is the other shuttle,” she said softly, recalling the last time Serenity went cold. Mal stared hard at her hand, a hand that had caressed many men, that made them feel special for a time. The same hand that had wielded a bow in battle and desperately tried to stem the flow of blood from a stomach wound. It had been sullied. Seemed a crime.

He wanted to let her fingers travel over him, give him shivers as she stroked his skin. He wanted to feel the glide of her hand around him rather than his own. Her fingers were smooth and supple, but Mal could see a chip or two in the lacquered nails. She had tried opening the shuttle door, he remembered. Shaking his head and straightening, he pulled away from her.

“Too dangerous.”

Her brow lifted. “Shuh mah?”

“In the shuttle.” He gestured to the darkened front window and to the howling wind. “Shuttle’d be smashed to bits. Ain’t got the power to handle this much turbulence.”

Mal could see Inara calculating an attempt to find a solution. Dark eyes met his own and he saw fear in them.

“We should gather everyone together then,” she finally said, her voice quiet and firm. “To help conserve heat.”

Mal nodded. “Might have to make guests of ourselves in your space there, Inara, if we can get the door t’open.” Her shuttle was the best choice since it did have a small heater, assuming there was still power in the reserves.

Inara read Mal’s expression. She looked away, frantically trying to recall if she’d expended the shuttle’s reserve energy supply.

“Best go gather yourself up, make the place presentable.” Mal half-grinned. “May come to be that we’re all gonna need your services.”

The Companion quickly headed to her shuttle, pushing back a biting retort.

“Zoe?” Mal called into the internal comm, “I need you on the bridge.” Moments later, he heard the woman’s boots on the metal stairs. “What’s our status?”

Zoe took a deep breath. “Aside from crew injuries, the ship is running at about fifty percent. The cargo hold doors are jammed underneath so the mule is not an option. The door won’t open on Shuttle Two and may have sustained damage. Also, the computers were shut down prior to the crash so we can’t access the sensors. And...” She stopped.

Mal looked at her. Weren’t like his First Mate to show emotion like this.

“And,” she continued, “there is a large hole on the port side of the ship. Guest quarters.” Her steely gaze returned once more.

“We got any food?”


“Folks’ll be hungry seein’ as we didn’t get any vittles. Think you can manage something?”

Zoe straightened and nodded. “Should be able to, sir, though I don’t know as it’ll be warm.”

“Whatever you can, Zoe.” He watched her turn and leave. Woman needed something to take her mind off the guilt she was feeling; Mal could see it plain as day on her face.

Directing his gaze back to the pilot’s console, Mal switched on the outer cameras that still functioned He frowned and slumped into his chair at seeing the port side. The image was fuzzy, but he could clearly see the antenna at an angle, unable to transmit properly.

The SOS wasn’t getting out.

Mal rested his head against the back of the chair. Needed to get that antenna fixed and yesterday. Trouble was, the resident mechanic was wishing for ponies and princes. Shutting his eyes, he recalled the gaping hole in the side of his ship. The port side of his ship.

Sitting up in the chair, Mal knew what he had to do. Wouldn’t be easy with the blizzard and the hull would be more than slippery with the snow. The dark wasn’t a bonus either. Dangerous hardly began to describe the scenario. Still, the crew had done more difficult things, like hovering over moving trains and underneath garbage disposal units.

More precisely, Jayne had hovered.

And now he seemed to be hovering just this side of living, a place they’d all be soon if he didn’t get the comm working and get help here quick.

“Okay then,” he whispered to the ship, gently caressing the wall. “I’ll get on my warmest and wooliest.”


Wednesday, December 12, 2007 5:52 PM


This keeps getting more and more interesting - great job!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 8:06 PM


Poor Mal, poor crew, poor Serenity. This is looking a mite bleak and cheerless right now so hope there will be some good news coming along one way or another. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:02 PM


definitely looking a bit hopeless here. But our gang's good at getting out of those situations, even if they have a few more scars to show for it. . .

Friday, December 14, 2007 12:40 PM


Really enjoying this one. Keep it up!!


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